The partisan divisions in our nation may never have been more pronounced then they are today. Realizing that to be the case in this election year, SVDP USA Voice of the Poor Committee found inspiration for our work in this familiar quote from our founder:
“The question which is agitating the world today is a social one. It is a struggle between those who have nothing and those who have too much. It is a violent clash of opulence and poverty which is shaking the ground under our feet. Our duty as Christians is to throw ourselves between these two camps in order to accomplish by love, what justice alone cannot do.” Frédéric Ozanam
Last spring, we began with a webinar titled “Civility in a Time of Political Strife” (you can view this webinar by clicking here). The substance for this session came from the US Catholic Bishops material on civil dialogue in an election year (https://www.wearesaltandlight.org/civilize-it).
Our exploration of civil dialogue continued through a series of joint workshops developed with the African American Task Force. This series took its inspiration from the 2018 pastoral letter on racism from the US Bishops Open Wide Our Hearts.
Each of these webinars emphasized the necessity of prayerfully forming, then examining, our conscience. We encouraged participants to review the 13 National SVDP Position Statements as well as the totality of Church teaching. Without that crucial step, we are subject to being “…tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14).
Our final webinar before Election Day will be on October 15, at 3 pm EDT (To register, click here). In this event we will have a panel of young Vincentians share their thoughts about the challenges faced by those we serve and how that informs them at the polls.
Participating in society is our Catholic duty. Let us pray for all the candidates and for all who will vote in elections around the world.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
President, St. Thomas Aquinas Conference
National Chair, Systemic Change & Advocacy